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Matt & Brian, Wow! Great interview and discussion! You hit the nail on the head, Brian. Engaging with customers is more critical than ever, especially with the demand for digital experiences. I love the details around segmenting customers, understanding each segment and topics relevant to them, and engaging with proactive and personalized content.
I am aware of a few utility communicators that welcome a rate case because it gives them a chance to talk about the service and safety improvements their utility has made in order to serve customers better. But I think this is a minority opinion. Frame of mind and how you approach it is so valuable-- it sounds like the ability to do so is what separates serviceable utility...
Do you think that there will increasingly be non-utility disintermediaries (maybe Amazon? Apple?) that target beyond the meter revenue opportunities, particularly in light of FERC's recent Order 2222?
Disintermediation is already happening and will grow rapidly, especially non-utility providers of real and virtual distributed energy resources and participation in retail transactive energy markets. There is already considerable innate disintermediation: think of consumers charging their electric vehicle while away from their home.
As I mentioned briefly during the session, data suggests that customers would be willing to consider alternative providers for their energy and utility service relationships, and Amazon or telecom providers may rank high on the potential vendor list. However, I expect that companies considering entry to the utility market will quickly find the space far more challenging than analysts may expect.
In fact, 73% of consumers said they would be interested in receiving electronic reminders when a bill is due via email alert, mobile notification or text. How is this number so high but still not all utilities offer it? Is it ignorance of that need of the customer or just delaying it as not a priority?
The majority of utilities do provide the ability to set up reminders, but not all do a good job of communicating the capability to customers. According to our research only 26% of consumers say they’ve received communication on bill pay reminders from their biller. So lack of awareness results in a gap between interest and actual usage.